I feel as if I’ve been running a marathon for the last three months. Of course, NaNoWriMo is a marathon, and that’s where this one started. I’m not sure when I set myself the goal of getting Privileged Lives published by the end of January, or early February at the latest. Certainly not at the end of November. I was going to do the usual thing–put the novel away for a while and work on something else. Instead, it grabbed me and said “Now!” I resisted, but it won. This morning, there are only three chapters left to edit, and I’m looking at the darned thing and wondering how it managed to grow from 74k to 93k. Even more, I’m wondering why it should take four drafts to get it to where it is now.
My first drafts tend to be very lean, and that’s something I need to work on. As I worked through the drafts, I kept seeing how I could have developed this or that detail more thoroughly the first time around–or at least the second. So that’s a goal with any new work I start this year.
There’s an interesting discussion going on over at Limebird Writers–Bad Reviews — Should I Speak or Forever Hold My Peace? All kinds of considerations go into reviewing a book. One that hangs a lot of people up is knowing the writer. What do you do when a friend’s book turns out to be a dud?
In my comment, I said that I won’t post a review unless I can give it at least three stars, regardless of who wrote it. Then I realized that I stick to that only when I review a book on my blog. On Goodreads, I’ll go as low as two stars, and, very rarely, one star. One-star books are such dreck that it’s usually a waste of time to review them at all, but I’m not nothing, if not oppositional. Sometimes, when I’ve been trapped by glowing reviews into buying and reading a truly dreadful book, I just have to say something about it. I hardly ever rely on just the reviews, but even the very worst books can fool you with a sample that seems to offer something of value. It turns out that writers are wising up to samples and some of them will edit the sample until it glows, but leave the rest of the book a glomming mess.
So there’s an element of pissed-offness that enters into my decision to review and rate a piece of garbage, or something that isn’t quite that bad and might have risen to three or even four stars if someone had bothered to vet it. Mainly, though, I think there’s a need for dissenting opinions, in book reviews as much as anywhere else. One or two well thought-out dissenting opinions have turned me away from books that would have been a waste of my money and time. I think readers deserve that.